27th November 1965 Celtic v Kilmarnock – League – Part One

Man with a Mission

While Jock Stein no doubt would have been pleased with the excellent result against Hamilton, he would almost immediately have needed to switch mentally to his other job as manager of the Scotland national team and the game against Wales in midweek. And over the ensuing 48 hours, it was a case of bad news following bad news as several players in the 16-man squad were forced to call off for one reason or another.

commentButton2The Absentees

Denis Law withdrew with a knee injury; Billy Stevenson was out with a groin strain; and Billy McNeill also pulled out with that knee problem picked up in the match against Hamilton.


The Team

Jock Stein brought one additional player into the squad – Charlie Cooke – and training seemed to go well down at Largs. However, in spite of pressure from the press and media, he played his cards close to his chest and it was not until the squad arrived at Hampden on the evening of the 24th November that the team was given out. It was Ferguson, Greig, McCreadie, Murdoch, McKinnon, Baxter, Henderson, Cooke, Forrest, Gilzean and Johnston.


Willie Henderson fit for final - Daily Record

Willie Henderson assist at Murdoch goal: © Daily Record

The Match

A crowd of 49,885 gathered at Hampden and they saw the Scots put on an excellent performance which received its due reward in the press the following day;


Scots the Complete Masters at Hampden

Cooke and Murdoch the Men of the Match

 Scotland 4 Wales 1


10 minutes

a dazzling run by Henderson up the right, he cut it back to Murdoch who slammed the ball home.

13 minutes

Wales draw level through Allchurch

14 minutes

Henderson dribbles into the penalty area, survives three heavy tackles then scores.

20 minutes

a Johnston corner was headed out by a Welsh defender but only as far as Murdoch, who scored from 20 yards.

85 minutes

Greig raced forward and struck a low shot into the corner of the net.


In the other match in the Championship – held at Wembley on 10th November – England had beaten Northern Ireland 2-1.



Back to Club Business

And that applied to the Scots team, the manager and every Celtic player. For me, it meant training again with the part-timers on the Thursday evening, when there was a real change to our usual format!

Glasgow had suddenly been hit by some cold weather overnight and straw – someone told me 15 tons of it! – had been spread all over the pitch to try and make it playable for Saturday’s match. The track was very hard, and icy, as well, so we could do very little on it and one of the coach’s ideas – that we should just run over the straw as the high leg lift required would be good for stretching our muscles – had to be abandoned when a pitchfork that someone had left behind in the straw suddenly flew up into the air, scaring the life out of those nearest to it.!

After training, I got a little boost from Sean Fallon, who told me the Boss had been pleased with my performances so far and just to keep it up. However, he also gave me a rap on the knuckles, as in answer to his question about whether I had spoken to the Dean of the Dental Hospital about getting time off for the quarter-final tie in the Cup Winners’ Cup – the draw was still to be made – I had to admit that I had not done anything yet. “Well, you had better get on with it” was his blunt response.

On the Friday morning, the Dean’s office was my first port of call. He was unavailable at that moment but I made an appointment to see him the following week.


Did I Really Want to Know That?

One piece of not so good news – at least for me – was in the papers the morning of the Kilmarnock match;

‘Happy news for Celtic fans is that Ian Young, Billy McNeill and John Hughes are all making good progress with their injuries and all three could be considered for a place this afternoon’.


Games Off

From the morning press on Saturday 27th November 1965 ;-

‘Only one Glasgow game is likely to go ahead today. Celtic, using the old-fashioned but effective straw covering at Parkhead, have the pitch in good shape for the visit of Kilmarnock. Partick Thistle versus Hamilton is off ; Third Lanark against Arbroath very doubtful.



Pool for Italy

The pool of players for the crucial forthcoming World Cup tie against Italy in Naples was announced. It was;

Goalkeepers:      Ferguson (Kilmarnock), Brown (Tottenham Hotspur)

Backs:                  Greig (Rangers), Provan (Rangers), McCreadie (Chelsea),

Half Backs:        McNeill (Celtic), McKinnon (Rangers), Baxter (Rangers), Murdoch (Celtic), Stevenson (Liverpool), Yeats (Liverpool)

Forwards:          Henderson (Rangers), Forrest (Rangers), Cooke (Dundee), Bremner (Leeds), Gilzean (Tottenham Hotspur), Law ( Manchester United), Martin (Sunderland), Johnston (Rangers), Hughes (Celtic)



Moscow Dinamo

The combined Celtic/Rangers select team to face Moscow Dinamo in a floodlight friendly at Hampden on Friday night 3rd December 1965 was announced.

All of the players in the pool for the Italy v Scotland match were excluded ; while both Celtic and Rangers had been allowed to postpone their league matches on the 4th December, due to the number of their players involved in the preparations for that match.

The team was Ritchie, Johansen (both Rangers), Gemmell (Celtic), Watson (Rangers), Cushley, Clark, Johnstone (all Celtic), Willoughby (Rangers), McBride (Celtic), McLean (Rangers), Lennox (Celtic). Substitutes were Simpson (Celtic), Hynd, Wilson (both Rangers).



Let’s deal with last week’s question first. I asked you to name the player listed as ‘Newman’ in the Celtic reserve team against Hamilton on 20th November 1965, a young man who later not only signed for Celtic but went on to manage the side too. Well, the answer was Davie Hay, whose playing career covered the years 1965-1974 and whose spell as manager was from 1983 to 1987.

This time round, the question throws up the name of Ronnie Simpson. One of the major early moments in Ronnie’s career came at the London Olympics of 1948, when he was the goalkeeper for the GB team which beat Holland and France but lost in the semi-final to Yugoslavia and was then defeated in the third place match by Denmark. The question is – who was the manager of the side?


The Fight

In the fight which had brought many stars to Las Vegas, Mohammed Ali pounded Floyd Patterson into defeat after 2 minutes 18 seconds of the 12th Round in their World Championship Heavyweight bout.


Armed Police Out After Riots

Strong patrols of armed police were out in the Bulawayo area of Rhodesia last night after an African was shot dead in disturbances during the day.

It was the first known death in demonstrations protesting against the seizure of independence by Mr Ian Smith’s government.


Change of Date

The Scottish League have fallen in with the recommendation of the Glasgow magistrates that Celtic and Rangers should not meet on New Year’s Day.

The League announced yesterday that the Celtic v Rangers and Partick Thistle v Clyde games due on Saturday January 1st will be played on Monday January 3rd.

The Clyde v Celtic and Rangers v Partick Thistle matches which were due on 3rd January will now be played on New Year’s Day.